Have you ever watched the beginning of a triathlon? Calling it “chaotic” would be an understatement.
Having competed in triathlons before, “fighting for your life” would be a more accurate description. We literally look like a large school of fish crawling over each other trying to avoid being eaten by a shark. Sometimes you get an elbow in the face, and sometimes you give an elbow to another face. They’re not intentional, at least mine aren’t…
After a few minutes, the chaos dies down, you get into a rhythm, and you no longer feel like you’re fighting for your life.
I think starting a business is a lot like the start of a triathlon: it’s chaotic, hard to see, and usually unpleasant.
With these challenges in mind, how do you successfully get past the initial launch? I believe we can learn a few lessons from triathlon.
Start at the Front of the Pack
If you start at the front of the pack, you have fewer obstacles to overcome. The majority of your competitors are behind you, and this means less jockeying for position and fewer people to climb over.
Likewise, the further ahead you start, the greater your chance at succeeding. It’s hard to succeed in an industry you don’t understand or have little experience with. For example, if you’ve never had a blog, you might have a hard time becoming a professional full-time blogger.
Start as high up the hill as you can. Don’t wait until every aspect of your business is perfect, but don’t launch prematurely and lose credibility either.
Keep Moving Forward
Some endurance athletes believe endurance sports are more a test of the mind than the body, and I agree. In every triathlon I do, my body screams to stop, to quit. But my mind knows that I just need to keep moving forward. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, because that is how you push through.
When starting a business or launching any new venture, it is SO important to not get stuck and to keep your momentum. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve got stuck with the launch of Patterns of Success and almost called it quits.
Luckily for me, I have a supportive wife that frequently reminds me of my “why”, as in “why” am I doing this? If you have a big enough “why”, you’ll have the motivation you need to keep moving forward.
Again, avoid getting stuck. You’re going to face roadblocks and make mistakes, but keep your momentum.
Constantly Look Up
Swimming in open water is completely different than swimming in a pool. The most obvious difference is that you don’t have a nice straight line under the surface to help you swim in a straight line. It’s surprising how hard it is to swim straight in open water.
To remedy, you use a technique called “sighting“. Every few strokes, you lift your head out of the water and locate the buoy you’re swimming towards and make adjustments as needed.
The launch phase of any enterprise is just like the swim: head is down, tons of energy is expended, and it’s usually a bit messy. That’s why it’s so important to keep “sighting”, to lift your head up and consistently recommit yourself to your business vision, your core values, and your other priorities in life.
If you go very long without sighting, you will end up jeopardizing your health, your family, or your other areas of your life. We’ve seen it time and time again, and hopefully we never see this scenario play out in your life.
The launch can be a messy time for both triathlon and business. When things do get messy, try using one of the guidelines above and let me know how it went. You can reach me through my Contact page.
To your success,